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BELGRADE, October 13 (Itar-Tass) — Belgrade hopes that an agreement will be reached with Russia shortly to provide an one billion U.S. dollar loan to Serbia to stabilise the budget and a 800 million U.S. dollar loan to modernise railways, Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacis said.
Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, Dacic said, “To this end, Russian banks should operate in Serbia. We’ve talked with Sberbank and other financial institutions.”
The prime minister noted that among the promising projects, in addition to the energy sector, he wanted to name export of Serbian agricultural products. The prime minister stressed that a deal would be signed shortly to sell Serbia’s steel mill, Zelezara Smederevo, to Russia.
“Russia and Serbia will sign an agreement on strategic partnership in the short run. The inter-governmental agreement on gas supplies facilitates its signing,” Dacic said.
In his words, strategic partnership should be realised through cooperation between the governments of both countries.
Belgrade hopes that work on the Serbian section of the South Stream gas pipeline will resume in December 2012, Dacic said. “A solemn ceremony will take place in Russia’s Krasnodar Territory in December to launch the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline. The ceremony will involve the prime ministers of the countries what territories the pipeline will run through. I will attend the ceremony. We also expect the construction to be launched on the Serbian section.”
The prime minister stressed that this was a very important project for Serbia. Investments will reach about two billion U.S. dollars, he added.
Dacic said he is hopeful that Srbijagas and Gazprom would sign an agreement to this effect shortly.
Earlier, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and his Serbian colleague Zorana Mihajlovic signed an inter-governmental agreement on Russian natural gas supplies (up to five billion cubic metres) to Serbia in 2012-2021 in Belgrade.
“By signing the agreement Serbia sewed up long-term and stable supplies of natural gas in the upcoming 10 years. This is one more step towards strengthening relations between Serbia and Russia, which is one of our key foreign political partners,” Dacic told a press conference after the signing ceremony.